Holiday Help for Scam Victim

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

December 21, 2005
Here’s an update to the story News 12 told you about on Tuesday. An 85-year-old woman was scammed out of money she planned to use for bills and last minute Christmas shopping. And while the crooks posing as utility workers are still on the loose, help came today for Mary James in the form of secrets Santas.

She trusted two men that said they needed to look at wiring in her home. Mary James thought they were with the utility company. But the men were there to steal her money.

“I’ve got to pay my bills and my medicine, you know my medicine cost,” James said.

Betty Fordham has known Mary James for nearly 30 years. She checks on her daily and helps her around the house. She called on her way over when Ms. James said she had been robbed.

“I ask her if she was alright, she said yeah, she didn’t have any more. I said don’t worry about the money because you can replace the money,” Fordham said.

And the $162 stolen plus more was replaced when some News 12 viewers became secret Santas.

One woman agreed to do an interview but wanted to remain anonymous.

“I’ve helped friends, but never a stranger like this, but her story just broke my heart and I almost cried,” the donor said.

“To tell the people I thank them ever so much they don’t realize how much I appreciate it,” James said.

But anonymous donors said it was appropriate since it is the season of giving.

“I thought I’ve got to do something even if it’s a little, but just something to help her out for Christmas,” one donor said.

Richmond County investigators are still looking for the men behind the scam. They are described as white, between the ages of 40-65. They wear gray and white construction hats. Both men are about 5’10” and between 170-180 pounds. One has gray hair and the other has brown hair. They are apparently driving a burgundy van or truck.

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